To proactively address a potential town budget crisis as a result of an ongoing stalemate in Hartford, this joint letter from Council chair Mike Riccio and Council minority leader Chris Palmieri was sent to Southington Superintendent of Schools Timothy Connellan and Town Manager Garry Brumback on Friday, Sept. 22:
To Southington’s Superintendent of Schools and Town Manager:
As you know, we have been cautiously optimistic this summer that the Governor and General Assembly would be able to come together and pass a state budget. Unfortunately, it appears that they continue to struggle to find an appropriate solution to the many challenges facing our state. In light of this fact, we believe that we have to prepare to live under the Governor’s executive order. The current executive order significantly reduces our municipal aid and eliminates our education cost sharing grant all together.
As in years past we were expecting our first ECS installment of approximately $5 million by the end of October. If this does not occur it will dramatically affect our ability to continue operating as planned in our approved 2017/2018 operating budget. Therefore, at this time, we are requesting both the town government and the board of education prepare for the possibility that this ECS payment will not come through as expected.
We are asking that both the Superintendent and the Town Manager prepare a list of how they would absorb this $5 million cut and the impact that this cut would have on operations. We are optimistic that we will never have to exercise this option but feel strongly that it would be inappropriate not to at least start planning. We are asking that these documents be prepared no later than October 20.
Thank you in advance.
Christopher Palmieri, Democratic Caucus Leader, and Michael A. Riccio, Chairman of the Town Council